19th – 20th March
“…..“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength’. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. No other commandment is greater than these.””
Jesus, as He was hanging on the cross for our sakes, never for one moment, stopped loving us. Even in His dying breath He poured out His heart for the lost. The significance of Jesus’ sacrifice changed the world as it was. It changed the spiritual realm. It changed our capacity to interact with the Creator of this world. Yet above all, it highlighted how much we are loved by God. As John puts it, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…’ (John 3:16)! When we understand this love, it changes our presuppositions of who God is and our position and identity in Him. Moreover, as today’s verse highlights, it changes our attitude to loving God, ourselves and others.
In fact, it is almost criminal to hate ourselves, if the Creator of this world loved us enough to sacrifice Himself for us. We are ridiculously and radically loved by Jesus. He really did give everything He had for us. He literally emptied Himself for our sakes. So if our Creator loves us so much, if our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ loves us so much, then how can we not love ourselves too?
We do not love ourselves because we think we are great, or deserve accolades. On the contrary, we love ourselves because we are loved. It is Christ’s love revealed in our hearts that gives us an understanding of how much we are loved, which in turn gives us the confidence and ability to love ourselves. It is from that understanding that we can then, love others with the same love we are loved with. May we ask God to replace our bad image of ourselves with how God sees us and reject the lies of unworthiness. Let us ask God to help us fully understand how much He loves us and help us love others as we are loved and love ourselves.